Pedro Maldonado Interns with AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

From June to August 2017, Pedro Maldonado interned with the American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAAFTS) in Washington, D.C. Maldonado was part of the traffic research group and had the opportunity to collaborate with experts in the field of traffic safety and human factors. During his internship, Maldonado was involved in three main projects: a research brief, an AAAFTS internal project, and AAAFTS internal publications.

The research brief related to  leveraging and enhancing alcohol countermeasures to reduce drugged driving. Maldonado’s role as an intern was to develop a research summary identifying current alcohol countermeasures that can be adapted to detect and/or deter drug-impaired driving. Through this project, Maldonado gained a better understanding of drugs and driving and identified some opportunities for innovative solutions to detect drug-impaired driving.

The AAAFTS internal project that Maldonado worked on was related to Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and  focused on the potential benefits of ADAS as a crash avoidance technology. The purpose of the study was to determine the number of crashes that could be avoided if ADAS were a mandatory in-vehicle technology in all passenger cars in the U.S. This project allowed Maldonado to enhance his skills in data analysis and to improve his knowledge of crash data from the Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS) provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Currently, Maldonado is working with the Traffic Research Group on the statistical analysis that he developed during the summer in order to present and submit a paper for the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in 2019.

Maldonado collaborated with the team on two AAAFTS internal publications:

The Prevalence of Teen Driver Crashes: 2014–2015: The purpose of this study was to determine the prevailing types of collision, crash factors, and crash impact of teen drivers (16-17 years old) in comparison with other driver age groups. As co-author of this paper, Maldonado developed the statistical analysis, which included cross-tabulations and Poisson regression to identify the factors that were correlated with the main type of collisions involving teen drivers. This project improved Maldonado’s data analysis skills in crash data provided by NHTSA, such as the National Automobile Sample System (NASS), General Estimates System, and FARS. The Data and Information Team are currently analyzing the results that he presented during the summer and finalizing the paper, hoping to publish the work by November 2017.

Functional Correlates of In-Vehicle Technology Use and Perceptions among Older Drivers: This paper was designed by Bernadette Fausto, an intern from the University of South Florida, and the purpose is to identify how

cognitive, physical, and visual skills influence the relationship between perception and use of in-vehicle technology (IVT) in older drivers. This study is part of the Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers (LongROAD) studies. LongROAD is a multidisciplinary research team designed to understand the dynamics, mechanisms, determinants, and consequences of driving in senior drivers to ensure safe mobility. Maldonado is currently developing correlations between the safety perception of older drivers and their use of IVT and between their level of education and their use of IVT.

“Working with AAAFTS was an amazing experience. AAAFTS is a professional, loving, and caring family which noticed my efforts and always found ways to offer a compliment or a word of encouragement. Working with my mentor, Dr. Brian Tefft, not only helped me to gain confidence and knowledge of how to conduct research but also showed me the importance of being a researcher and how we can change lives through research and education. AAAFTS is without any doubt one of the best agencies to work for, and I hope to continue collaborating with them through my journey at the University of Florida.”